As the saying goes: Don't mock it 'til you try it
The hammock has gone from something you see in L. L. Bean ads to the new obsession your one friend talks about all the time, in just a few years. And why not? It’s basically fancy sitting and a great way to catch up on reading. Preface the sitting with some light exploration and adventure, and you have the makings of a widespread trend. And like most trends, some people take it deadly serious: hammocks, hammock calculators, straps, acronyms for the above, etc.
Sure, but where are you going to hang? A hammock without a hang is an expensive tarp.
Southern Oak Leaf Trail
You could spend all your hammock time in the neighboring Sheridan and Grant parks and never grow bored of the lake views. The Oak Leaf Trail cuts right through both county parks, winding through forested areas and overlooks. Leave the path: both parks are too narrow to get seriously lost in, and trails lead down to the lakeshore.
Here there are few options. Of course. But Pere Marquette Park beside the Milwaukee County Historical Society has the right combination of trees, views and reduced traffic. You won’t look out of place. To hang practically above the Milwaukee River, there’s a tree line near the intersection of Plankinton Avenue and Buffalo Street that looks promising, wink wink.
Obviously. While you’re there, swing by the surviving native American burial mound close to where Locust Street intersects with Lake Drive. In the Mid-Woodland Culture, mounds often had a good view, just like hammocks. Gustav Lueddemann purchased much of what later became Lake Park in 1849, thereby preserving a slab of old-growth forest you can now tie straps to.
Everything north of the Lakefront Colectivo is quieter and more wooded, and the activity at Bradford Beach tends to stay on the beach. Down south, folks have been known to hammock behind the Milwaukee Art Museum. Tacky? That’s for you to decide, dear reader. Still, the best spot in town may be the harbor spur to the east of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.
Washington Park and Humboldt Park
These should be considered in the same thought-breath as Lake Park. They’re big, muffling the traffic. They have large, old trees, and they’re easy to get in and out of. Overall, great places to get reacquainted with your Kindle.
The grounds of UW-Milwaukee and Marquette present strong options. UWM’s Downer Woods is a bit dense, but the natural area to the east ain’t bad, if you’re in the neighborhood. Marquette features a number of hammock-ready nooks and crannies, including a special hammock area with stands (behind the Jesus Christ statue on the northern campus). You wouldn’t hammock beside your local bank, but college is all about trying new things.
Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park
Brave the Milwaukee River greenway, sure, but start here so you have a good spot to fall back to. The UEC’s arboretum and Riverside Park have plenty of peace and quiet to go around.